This is a blog geared toward entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship, but many of our readers aren’t business owners…yet. Lots of our reader base are sitting on ideas for businesses. They plan to pull the trigger and do this thing one of these days. But the time isn’t right. They need to get more experience, better education, more connections or funding. I’m not going to say that these factors can’t help you in your quest to be a successful entrepreneur, but waiting for these things to emerge in your life can keep you from ever moving forward.
Your greatest resource is yourself. You are never again going to be as young as you are at this moment. Your energy is high. You might as well go for it. This is advice you won’t always see in personal finance blogs. Here are some recommendations on how to go about it.
1. Quit Your Job
I’m serious. This isn’t good financial advice for everyone out there, but it’s the best thing for a lot of people. Why quit your job? Because having to fight to survive, doing the thing you want to do, may be the only way you’ll work hard enough to make it happen. When I began my first career in design, I quit my day job on a Friday and started sending out proposals on Saturday. My only goal that month: earn enough money to pay my mortgage. I made my goal that month, and within 6, I had my first employee and many clients. I would never have had the wherewithal to start slow, on evenings and weekends. I had to jump straight into the deep end. If you’re like me, you’ll find yourself in the desperation to make it work, when there’s no other option available to you. It can look a lot like self-sabotage, but stepping out on your own, out of nowhere, is actually one of the most liberating things that you can do.
2. Take On Debt
You’ll want to insulate your private assets, as most of you already know, but when you are stepping out on a business of your own, you have to take some risk to have the option of reward. Don’t put yourself in dire straights, but borrow what you need to make what you do happen. A healthy fear of debt is financially healthy. But it can grow out of proportion, people never taking on any debt at all and consequently never being able to build anything of their own. Don’t let conservative financial advice keep you from building the business you need to fuel the life of your dreams.
3. Understand Your Business Fully
This is my only piece of advice that is somewhat conservative. Understand exactly where you fit in with the industry you are entering. Know your potential customer base, the scope of your place in the industry, a plan to grow and penetrate the market. Also be really good at what you do. But, again, don’t let your perceived lack of skill (within reason) keep you from stepping out at all. Are you only a moderately experienced contractor? Nothing like stepping out on your own, taking on clients, getting up to your eyeballs in work to learn exactly how it’s done. Knowledge is power, and experience is the best way to acquire it.
Entrepreneurship is a leap of faith, especially the first time. For many, the only way to do it is to make a jump for it, committing to your business and depending on it to provide for you and your family. Some will call this advice foolish and reckless. For some, these actions would be. But many people could succeed if they’d try. If you are reading this, chances are you are one such person. So take a risk. The worst thing you can do is fail, and not doing the thing you want is a failure in itself. And you might succeed. Imagine that.